We’re going to talk about the resurrection today, but specifically the meaning of the resurrection.
And, you know, if there was ever a time in our generation when we needed an understanding and a conviction about the resurrection, I believe it’s now. I mean you think about, I looked it up a couple of days ago. We’re in the middle, as you know, of a global pandemic, there have been 248,000,000 cases of that 5 million deaths. We’re in the middle of social breakdown. The resurrection speaks deeply to all of these events and has everything to do with us navigating in a healthy, positive way.
The difficulties of all of these events. We’re much more like the first century world than we thought we were in the first century world. I don’t know. Life expectancy was probably in the late 40s 50s. Death was a very common part of life.
Obviously, there were a lot of social challenges. Just read the Bible, all of the social conflicts that were occurring. And I think we kind of thought, well, we’re above all that our science, our knowledge is going to get us beyond that. We’ve got this thing covered. We have vaccines, we have things that can help us.
And we weren’t really prepared for what happened. We also thought we’ve sort of evolved. We understand how to handle the racial tension.
We’re getting a handle on this. And really, the last year and a half or so has just showed us how little we really have a handle on.
And the Resurrection speaks to all of that. It speaks directly. And it’s such an important thing to understand. And they understood this in the first century. And I submit to you, the Resurrection, that was the reason the gospel spread like it did in the first century. They knew this. The model of preaching in the Book of Acts. If you look at the sermons in the Book of Acts, 100% of the sermons, they talk about the resurrection. Now, I don’t know what it’s like for you, but I know for me historically, the Resurrection, something we would talk about at Easter and then, like, we would put it back on the shelf. This year in our little group in Clemson, we talked about the resurrection for six weeks. We started at Easter, and we finished, I don’t know, sometime in May. We just kept talking about it, but it really needs to be talked about all the time. Other topics are very important, but this was the model in the Book of Acts.
There are two important questions when you talk about the resurrection. One is, is it true and the other is what does it mean now? I’m not going to address the first one today. I think we’ve probably heard a lot about was the tomb empty? Why was the tomb empty?
We’ve evidences about the resurrection. That’s very important. And if you haven’t studied that, I encourage you to do that. That’s not what I’m going to talk about today. I’m going to talk about what does the resurrection mean? But we’ve got to realize how important it is for our peace of mind, for our general lives.
Right now is a quote that I really like. If the resurrection of Jesus Christ is not true, nothing in life really matters.
But if the resurrection of Jesus Christ is true, nothing else in life really matters. Now. I’m not saying nothing else in life matters, but nothing else in life really matters. This is it. This is the first sign of God saying, I am going to recreate this world, and I’m going to do it in a way that you would never have imagined.
It’s going to be better than you’ve ever imagined. It’s going to be more powerful. I can’t express what this is like for us.
You see, Christians tend to believe the cross alone saves us from our sins. We focus a lot on the cross and the cross, believe me, that’s important. But the cross without the resurrection, where were the Apostles? They were hiding in a room until they saw the resurrected Jesus.
And that’s where we’re going to be afraid until we really embrace this. We can’t just think about the cross. You know, the cross is thought to be that’s what saves us from our sins. The resurrection is normally viewed as a wonderful miracle that proves Jesus was the Son of God and really nothing more.
Yeah. I’m here to say I want to show that it is so much more than that.
Romans 425 says he was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification, raised to life for our joy. Without the resurrection, we’re not saved. It’s not just a miracle to show God is powerful and Jesus was the Son of God. It is that.
But we’re not saved without the resurrection. Philippians 310 I want to know Christ. Yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death. Paul wanted to know the power of the resurrection in his life. What does that mean?
You see the resurrection. It’s a source of Salvation. It’s a source of life. It’s a source of power. It is the game changer in our lives.
But so many times it’s an afterthought. So I want us to think a little bit about what does the resurrection? What does it mean? And there’s two things I want to talk about that. It means the resurrection means Jesus is with us, and the resurrection means the beginning of the restoration of all things has started.
I want you to think about those two things. We’re going to explore those things. First of all, the resurrection means that Jesus is with us. But I want you to think about. Do you feel Jesus with you?
Do you talk to him? Does he talk to you?
Do you have extended times with him? This is the way we were designed to live. You know, amongst the last words Jesus said, what did he say? I am with you always Isaiah 714. When the prophecy about Jesus. What’s one of the main names Jesus had Emmanuel. You know what that means? God with us.
You know, in Revelation three, verse 20, when I was a younger Christian, we used to use this verse to always said about this verse. Was that’s not how you become a Christian? You got to get baptized. But look at this. I really believe this in my life for years, Jesus was standing at the door and knocking. He’s like, John, you’re doing a lot of Ministry stuff. How about if we hang out some? John, I appreciate that you’ve been missionaries in two countries and three times and I appreciate your work. John, can we just be together?
Can we have a meal, John? That’s what the last few years have been like for me for Barbara learning to be with Jesus, there’s nothing more important in life.
Jesus is standing at the door. He’s knocking on the door of your house.
And I’m sure some of you do this. I must say I’m not here to say you’re lost. That’s not what this is about.
But so many of us do religious things. But we’re not really spending time with Jesus. And I’m not talking about your quiet time. There’s a difference.
There’s a difference in a legalistic quiet time and spending like time with Jesus. This is an invitation to rich, intimate Communion with Jesus.
I’m reading a book by a man named Sky Jithani called With. And it’s how we relate to God. And this is really important because some people relate to God they relate to God as life under God, meaning we’ve got rules and rituals and let’s do them.
That’s how we relate to God. I’m doing all the rules and the rituals and that’s why we get so charged up. If other people aren’t doing the rules and the rituals that we think are important, we get upset with them because we think this is what it is. It’s about obedience.
Obedience is important. There is a part of life under God that is good. And then there’s life over God. For some people, they relate to God as I’m over God. In other words, there are useful principles in the Bible and what we’ve learned in science and what we’ve learned in business.
And if we can apply those principles in our lives and in the Church, that’s what it’s about. And so they get really charged. If people aren’t listening to all of the latest inventions and technologies and philosophies, they get upset because they view God as well, God’s there, yeah, but we’ve got to really bring all of this human wisdom into the Church and into our lives and that’s the key. That’s life over God. And then there’s life from God. This is more common. God is there to grant our desires sometimes we call this the health and wealth gospel.
He’s there to bless us and to make our lives rich and to make us rich and to heal us of everything and alleviate us from our problems. This is life from God and that’s how we relate to God. And we become disappointed when those things don’t occur in our life. And then there’s life for God.
And this one sounds much more spiritual. This is where I have lived for many, many years. Life for God. We’re on a mission. We’re going to accomplish things.
We are going to evangelize the world. We are going to alleviate injustice in this world. We’re on a mission. And if you don’t get on that mission with me, you’re wrong. You are an inferior being if you’re not on with me in this mission and it just doesn’t resonate with a lot of people.
I lived life for God missionary. Let’s give up career. Let’s go. That’s not bad stuff. But if you’re doing it as a duty instead of an overflow of your heart, it’s damaging to you and to other people.
But then there is life. And this is what I believe. The supreme. All these have their place. Don’t get me wrong.
I’m not saying they’re completely wrong, but it’s wrong if that’s your major orientation towards God. There’s life with God. That’s what God wants. This is the way he grew. What do you think Eden was?
We’re on a mission. The Garden of Eden. That’s not what it was. You see life with God from the beginning. These are verses that talk about the beginning and the end.
What does God want at the beginning and the end? That tells us a lot, right? What he created and what he’s going to create. What’s it going to be. The word was with God.
The words referring to Jesus. They were with. There was somebody else there the Holy Spirit, Genesis 126. Let’s make man in our image. It was a community thing.
It was not God individually, I’m alone. I better create men and women because I’m just lonely. It’s not what it was. God already had his little community.
There was love. There was togetherness. Creation of man was an overflow. Even God did it from the inside out.
And at the end, now the dwelling of God is with me. This is what I’m trying to convey here. Being with us has been God’s main intention from the beginning.
This is God’s plan to restore it. So the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus is with us. He’s not left.
But do you feel Him with you?
You see, I think we you may have heard of the word Deism. Deism is what many of the founding fathers of the United States believe. They believe in God, but they believe he created the world. And then he just kind of left it. Figure it out.
I created you. We’ll see you at the renovation of all things. The second coming. That’s deism. We don’t really think like that.
We have a different kind of deism. It’s called biblical deism. We think God gave us the Bible and then left. We really believe that. I talked to so many people.
Well, I started saying things like God told me this. Was it in the Bible?
People want to know. Some of you are afraid to say, Amen. You really are. I get it. I’d be, huh, I don’t know about that.
Now, God doesn’t tell you things that contradict the Bible, but there’s general revelation, and that’s what the Bible is. And then there’s individual revelation and that’s things he tells you about you.
How do you have a relationship if you don’t have individual revelation? Barbara, I don’t sit around talking about, well, marriage is wonderful. Marriage. That’s principle. That’s just wonderful.
We talk about how about do you love me or you let love marriage? Many of us love the Bible. We have a relationship with the Bible.
I’m not questioning your Salvation. I know you’re well intentioned and you’re. I lived for years like that. And I’m still learning how to live with a life with. I want to get a Tshirt and I’m going to get them from me and some of my friends this Christmas that has RFD on the front.
That means recovering functional deist.
That’s what I am. I’m in recovery of believing God. I believe in God. I believe he’s powerful. I believe he’s good.
I can tell you that theology about God. I just never really experienced Him with me on a regular basis.
I’m talking about emotionally experience where it moves you.
Do you have that? Most of us simply do not put in the time for this to be a reality in our lives. And I’m not saying time is an assignment.
Here’s what I’ve learned in recent years. And I’m still learning this. How does transformation occur? How do we you know, there are things we can change, and most of us think here’s the way to change. We preach the truth and you just do it.
But if we’re honest, that plan does not work. That’s like saying we’re going to get a girlfriend by driving by her in the car and whistling at her.
That’s the best plan man came up with, you know, but, boy, that really works. Does that ever work?
We’re going to whistle at em. You see, going from our relationship with God, from being a monologue to a dialogue monologue is where you just do the talking. God, this God, that friendship with you ever have dinner with somebody?
They don’t talk at all. You think Jesus wanted to eat with us, so we do all the talking.
He wants to be with you.
Only God can change your heart and see when you begin to encounter God. What transforms us, in my opinion, is encounters with God.
Now what I’m talking about, this is a whole other lesson, but I want to throw this out there because I think it’s really important. What I’m saying is, we do not change by willpower. We don’t change. You can change some things by willpower, the deeper things of your heart, the stuff in the Sermon on the Mount, you can’t change that by willpower. You can’t do that. And so then we get very disillusioned and we settle for a life that is not filled with everything that it could be. I’ve had to learn. There are things called the spiritual disciplines.
I hate to call them that because people automatically kind of, bleh, but the spiritual disciplines are practices and there’s a lot of them. But I’m just going to mention four that I think are very important in our culture, in our Church culture, in our general culture. Solitude. Jesus spent a lot of time alone. We spend very little time alone. And when we are alone, we’re with our phones, which really isn’t alone.
Do You spend a lot of time alone? Jesus… Are you quiet a lot? Like no noise. And I know it just drives some of us crazy. We’re alone. No noise, nothing on, no radio, no TV, no…
Are we alone? And are we quiet? Why am I saying this? Because this is the container that you hear God in. But if you never are alone and you’re never quiet for an extended period of time, you likely are deficient in hearing Jesus.
Our little house Church group, we do this thing called Lectio Divina where really for us Church, and I’m not saying this is the only form of Church, but for us, largely Church is we all read a scripture. We’re in Colossians now, so that was great to hear Alex read Colossians, and then we share what God told us. That was so awkward to start that. We almost couldn’t do it.
We’re like, well, I don’t know, but maybe. Ok, just say God told you this or it’s fine to say I think God told me. But reading the Bible instead of reading it academically instead of reading it for facts instead of reading it for knowledge instead of reading it for, well, this would be a good sermon instead of reading it for impressing other people with what you know about God reading it. What did God say to me that’s Lectio Divina divine reading.
And personal praise. You know, it’s funny. There’s certain things that will happen to you. You can’t pray your way out of by just saying God help me to be brave. God help me to be forgiving. God help me to not be afraid of this horrible disease I have. You have to praise so much of our prayers is not focused on that.
And maybe a lot of what I’m saying. I speak from my experience, but I’m trying to tell you something. This has been life changing for me, and I feel like I’m kind of at the beginning phase of life, but I feel like it’s also a new life to be with Jesus.
And I’ve started to be able to be a little calmer. You can ask Barbara, I’m not perfect.
Probably shouldn’t have said that. I didn’t put pressure on Barbara, but, yeah, she gave me the thumbs down. No, I’ll give you an example of how wonderful I am.
We drove down here, and I’m not exaggerating. It’s like a twelve hour drive. And for 12 hours, Barbara was on the phone with her work, and I’m driving.
Maybe not twelve, but ten.
And she afterwards, she said, John, thank you for being so patient. You know, I can count on my hand the times anybody has told me that in my life.
Thank you for being so patient. I was like, wow, this is a new world.
I’m just telling you, for a guy that was a hard charger about accomplishment of life for God and trying to get everybody else to do life for God.
And it sounds really good.
It’s been a blessing to me to begin to, you know, the main thing God told me? Now God doesn’t tell you where to park your car necessarily or where… We get into these… You know the main thing god’s told me how much he loves me.
That’s the main thing he’s told me. I needed to hear that.
You know, this is a paraphrase by a man named James Bryan Smith, who wrote a book called The Good and Beautiful God.
This is Ephesians Three. He says, I pray that you will really get how much you are loved by God, because if you could truly grasp this one thing, it would completely change your life.
This is the transformational thing. You know, what changes people? When they really get that God loves them and sometimes they really need help being in a little group of people that really love them. And what does it mean to love? I know we go in a lot of different.
One thing it means I am glad to be with you. You know, how when we see babies and God made babies cute because they do so many time consuming things that are not fun and not convenient that he had to make them cute.
But when we see like, oh, hey, we’re all real animated and smiling. We see each other. Hey, dummy.
And I’m not saying we greet each other like babies. That would be a little demeaning. But with that spirit, we desperately need a group of friends that are glad to be with us.
When you believe God’s glad to be with you when you believe, and you have a group of friends that are glad that’s when deep change begins to occur.
You know, there’s an old song. My mother used to sing me this song when I would be sick, but I was thinking about it as I was thinking about this point. It’s called in the Garden.
And I think it was written in, like, 1891 by a pharmacist and it’s about when Mary encounters Jesus in the garden. But it says, I come to the garden alone while the Dew is still on the roses. And the voice I hear falling on my ear the Son of God discloses. I read this because in 1800 and in past centuries, we understood this concept of God being with us a lot better.
We didn’t have cell phones and all these things that really distract us.
It was a simpler life. And then the refrain of the song is, he walks with me. He talks with me. He tells me I am his own and the joy we share as we Tarry there none other has ever known. And we think of this song.
That’s a bygone thing. That’s a beautiful expression of what I’m trying to convey to us. I can’t think of anything more important than… The resurrection means Jesus, he’s with us.
I’m not going to get into was it the Holy Spirit with us, or is it God or is it Jesus? Yes. Don’t fall into that. I want to know who’s with me.
They’re one, all right? Whatever floats your boat. They’re not in competition to spend time with you either.
So the resurrection means Jesus is with us. He didn’t leave. He’s not up there. He’s not waiting on us. He’s with us. He’s waiting to get in. But I’m saying He’s here. He’s here today.
The second thing. And there’s so many things we could say about the meaning of the resurrection.
We don’t have time to say all of them, and we don’t need to. But the second thing, the resurrection, one of the most important things it means. It’s like the first act in the restoration of all things.
All things are getting restored. And I find as I talk to people, we don’t really have this concept of heaven and what God is going to do. And heaven is kind of I think one of the most tragic mistakes we’ve made in our theology is thinking of heaven as a place out, way out there somewhere beyond the universe.
And that’s not what it is. And it’s really important to understand this. When Jesus was raised from the dead, that’s, like, the first thing God did. And that’s not when the Kingdom came, but it’s the first thing in the restoration where God said, okay, here’s just the first taste of what I’m going to do. I’m going to take this thing that was horrible as that beautiful song we sang today was talking about.
And I’m going to like, it’s kind of like when a football player scores a touchdown and he’s like, in your face, I’m going to show the world what I in a spectacular way. And he really wants us to understand… Ephesians and Colossians talk a lot about these things, by the way. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened. Okay. God wants our heart to be enlightened.
Paul’s praying for that because Paul encountered Jesus. Paul knew this is the key to everything that you may know, the hope to which he has called you. That the riches of his glorious inheritance and the Saints and see for me these were religious words that I wanted to move on from because they really had nothing to do with doing things for God. And so I’d read them and go, okay, I’m not sure what that means, but sounds really poetic, and I didn’t like poetry.
What’s that got to do with Evangelizing the world? The answer is everything. Everything. You see if it’s not our heart, that means our emotions. The heart is the seat of our emotions.
If we don’t know the incomparably great power for us who believe the power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms. You see, Paul is equate the resurrection. It’s not just this event that happened. It’s a power that’s supposed to be a reality in our lives. But if we’re not practicing, I keep going back to this because it’s so important.
We’re not practicing solitude, quiet, listening to God from his word is a good place to start. Although it’s not the only place he speaks to us through nature. He speaks to us through people. He speaks to us in a lot of ways.
And if we’re not in personal praise, it’s great to come here and praise. I miss this. It’s great. But personal praise is perhaps even more important.
Are we singing these songs alone? You see, there’s an important principle to understand. And as far as understanding the restoration of all things. Most people think that here we are in our world painful world. We got pandemics, we got death, we’ve got tragedy, we’ve got social problems, that’s our world. And then we think Jesus is going to come. And this is maybe the way the first century Jews were thinking he’s going to come and it’s going to be completely fixed.
And see now this is really important. Please listen to me on this. Bear with me. I don’t know. It may be a little hard to understand has been for me, but I’d like to present something called the already, but not yet Kingdom.
And I didn’t invent that phrase, that’s a well known phrase.
And this is from Tim Keller’s book, Hope in Times of Fear. That’s where I got this as well as many of the points I’m sharing with you.
So here we are in our age. That’s what this bottom black line means. And this line means the age to come, heaven when everything’s restored and it’s perfect. So Jesus is first coming. He came and we saw some signs of the Kingdom as he would perform miracles.
But then, as far as restoration of the whole thing goes, that was his resurrection. Kind of like the first act this is what the final thing is going to look like, the first piece of it. And then he’s going to come back and that’s the Parisea. He’s going to come back and restore everything. Now here’s the problem.
We get imbalanced. It’s the already, but not yet Kingdom.
You see, sometimes we think, okay, we’re not in heaven yet. And so when we’re miserable, we think, well, that’s just the way it is. And then there’s others of us who think Jesus came. He was resurrected. We got to fix everything.
You see, we’re naive in our expectations of we’re still here. It’s the already, but not yet Kingdom, meaning there are parts of it that are here already. And if you’re cynical about that, then you will not have expectations for yourself. It’ll change the way you operate your life and the way you live. You won’t expect a whole lot.
But if you think the kingdom’s already here, you’re going to be going around trying to change the world all the time and making everybody around you miserable.
This is really this has everything to do with what we’re going through.
You know, Jesus, when he came, the Messiah was here. The Kingdom of God had arrived. All these things are in the Gospels. The new Covenant had started and we were delivered from death. All those statements are in the gospel.
So the Kingdom is here. The Kingdom is here. However, there’s a not yet portion. Why are we still praying your Kingdom come?
Because it’s not completely here.
The part where the Wolf and the lamb are going to lay together. That’s not happening yet. I haven’t seen that.
And there are a lot of other things that haven’t happened yet. But there are a lot of signs of what’s happened. So it’s the already, but not yet Kingdom. And this is important to understand the restoration of all things in your life.
It’s not merely a hope. I think many times we view the resurrection as a hope for the future. But it’s a hope from the future. That’s the future coming here.
It’s not here fully the Kingdom of God, but it’s here substantially.
Heaven is more here than many of us think.
So. The Kingdom of God is the renewal of the world through the introduction of supernatural forces. And it’s important to balance our thinking about that.
What do you think about heaven? I find we really, one of the reasons I in the past and still struggle with this have not been excited about heavens because it was very unfamiliar. It’s like way out there and the images we think of these clouds. And, you know, I like to this is about the restoration of all things, renewal of all things. He’s going to restore everything. These are two verses. It’s very exciting. And then Romans 18 talks about it as well.
But let me show you these.
Is this your image of heaven? Fat babies with wings and no diapers. This is what we get for living faithfully for God. You know my first question. Do we get umbrellas?
I want you to give up everything you have for this. I don’t care how much you love babies. You do not want them flying over you over you with no diapers.
This is the best we can do if we don’t have enough quiet and solitude.
You know, I love this. I think from the far side, the guy’s sitting on a cloud with his wings. Wish I’d brought a magazine.
This is our view. It’s sad. It’s not the way it’s supposed to be. And just going back to these verses that I went through very quickly. But I just want to.
This is important. The renewal of all things. God is not just going to fix you. He’s going to fix everything.
Everything I like to think, you know, that pet you had that died in a tragic accident. He’s going to fix that. I really believe that. That place that you think is really beautiful, but that man is destroying.
He’s going to fix that. This isn’t just about us. See, we can be very focused. I’m going to heaven.
Heaven’s this Earth renewed.
Now that gets me excited. This Earth, but without the sin and without all the stupid things we’ve done Amen. Now I’m starting to get excited.
It’s real. That’s what the resurrection means. The way God fixed Jesus, he’s going to fix, you know… And guess what? We get to participate in governing it the Bible teaches. Think of your favorite place on this Earth. Perhaps you’ll be one of the leaders there involved in restoring it, your country of origin, perhaps that you love. But maybe you had to leave because the quality of life wasn’t what you thought life should be.
Wouldn’t it be cool to go back there but making it being involved with God? I got goosebumps thinking about the restoration of all things, not just us. This is the verse. I won’t take the time to read it. The creation is subject to frustration. We are. We know how frustrated we are, the way things ought to be. And they’re not. And it’s hard. And there’s sickness and death and so much sadness and so many social problems we can get very. I’ve talked to so many people say I’ve stopped watching the news and that’s probably a good thing to do.
But that’s not really a solution.
We need a hope.
You see, the creation itself will be liberated.
The whole creation has been groaning and it’s not for fat babies with wings. You know, Isaiah has a lot of prophecies about this. We don’t have time to read this in detail, but a new heavens and a new Earth. We leave out the Earth part and in heaven becomes this unfamiliar, distant place. The resurrection means God meets us where we are. And the people, it’ll be a joy. I will delight in my people. Never again will there be an infant who lives but a few days. They will build houses and dwell in them.
You know, heaven, I mean, I know it’s supposed to have Jesus said, I’m preparing the rooms. A lot of us like to fix our house up, right? That tells us something about us. We like a dwelling. What was heaven? I get a cloud?What am I, a street person?
We want a place. I’m trying to say it’s real and familiar.
You’re going to plant vineyards, you’re going to eat their fruit.
This is important to me. The Wolf and the lamb will feed together. Nobody’s going to be fighting anymore. Not even the Wolf and the lamb.
This is my garden. One of the things I miss about South Florida is being able to do. This is a little tropical garden. You can’t have a tropical garden in South Carolina. I’m learning the different plants.
But anyway, I remember in 2007, I got diagnosed. Some of you may remember with a melanoma skin cancer that was pretty serious. And I had to have a surgery and follow up treatment and all that.
I remember that period where, man, I really might die. I’m 47 years old. Wow. I’ve got kids in high school.
Number one, I was scared. But number two, I remember I just planted this garden, and I was thinking, I’m not going to get to enjoy this.
And then I was like, this fat baby’s with no diapers. This is when I Barbara is going to have this beautiful garden.
And that’s the other part, just the little thing. But I was like, proud of it. I like to go out there and just look at it.
But you see, there’s no need for this kind of distress in our lives.
Our distress comes from a failure to realize the life that’s before us. The only thing important here is being with Jesus and developing the character from that where you are emulating Christlikeness and everything that happens to us is an occasion for us to do that.
I’m going to close with this. I shared this at Nina’s funeral yesterday, and Barbara and I were talking about this because it’s kind of… Barbara’s an attorney, and words mean a lot to Barbara. And I kind of go more with the emotion of a phrase. But we had a really good talk, and she was very helpful to me with this. But in the restoration of all things, I said a phrase yesterday, all sad things become untrue. And that’s from my favorite movie, The Lord of the Rings.
And what that means is not only means that we can look forward with hope to the day our suffering will be gone. But it means we can look forward with hope to the day our suffering will be glorious.
You know, it’s like this Jesus one of the things he did with his disciples after his resurrection. He showed him his scars. And that wasn’t just so Thomas would believe.
I think also think about it. The last time those disciples had seen those scars, they thought those scars were ruining their lives.
I mean, here they are with Jesus. He’s doing miracles. He’s popular. They’re like, we are the ones.
We’ve got a great presidential campaign going here. He’s going to take the world. This is great. He’s on a cross with nails in his feet and in his hands. This was the worst thing.
I don’t know what the worst thing that has happened to you in your life.
Perhaps you were abused, perhaps the death of a child.
We’ve all got our scars, don’t we?
Well, all sad things become untrue for me means they now see the scars in a different light.
It reminded them of what Jesus did for them.
You know, somehow I don’t know how, but only God can do this. Every bit of pain you’ve experienced and the greatest pain that you’ve experienced will become, you will somehow become greater. Those things will be turned in in God’s glorious new creation to incredible things. It’s called the great reversal, where God takes the worst and makes it the best.
See, that’s what the resurrection means. God took the worst and made it the best.
And don’t think that’s why we don’t need to be disillusioned and devastated with what happens to us.
Because God’s going to take that and make it glorious. You can guarantee it. That’s what the resurrection means. It’s not just about Jesus and his scars. It’s about you and me and our scars.
The worst things that ever happened to you or that you did will enhance your eternal delight.
The meaning of the resurrection. Let’s just remember. It means Jesus is with us. He’s knocking at the door. Please get away. Make it a regular part of your life to be with him because he is with you and wants to be with you. And remember, he’s going to restore all things and use your scars to become the most glorious thing that has ever occurred in your life.
Let’s pray, father in heaven. Father, we are so thankful that you raised Jesus from the dead. Father, we praise you for your love for us, Father. We pray that we would let you in the door as you knock. Father, that we would just spend time with you and see that you are with us.
Father, that we would have a great vision for the future, our own future in heaven. But a vision for you recreating this whole Earth.
Father, we thank you that you can use all of our pain to become something more glorious than we can imagine. We thank you for the cross. But, Father, we also thank you, especially for the resurrection. Pray that we can celebrate that now and remember that in our hearts. Father, we just thank you so much for Jesus. Help us to keep our eyes on him. It’s in His name. We pray. Amen.